There is a wide range of supports available to help businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Financial supports, training and guidance to help your business mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and work safely:
The COVID-19 Income Support Scheme provides financial support to Irish workers and businesses affected by the crisis.
- Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme: The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), provides a flat-rate subsidy to qualifying employers based on the numbers of eligible employees on the employer’s payroll.
- COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment: The Pandemic Unemployment Payment is available to employees and the self-employed who lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic between 13 March 2020 and 7 July 2021.
- Short-time Work Support: Employees of businesses that need to reduce hours or days worked can avail of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Short-time Work Support.
Loans, grants, vouchers and schemes
- COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme: The COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme facilitates up to €2 billion in lending to eligible businesses. Loans under the Scheme range from €10,000 to €1 million, for terms of up to five and a half years. Financing will be offered through a range of products, including term loans, working capital loans and overdrafts. Loans of up to €250,000 under the Scheme are available unsecured (except where this is a requirement of the product feature, as in the case of asset finance, invoice discount facilities, etc). The Scheme is operated by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) through participating finance providers.
- COVID-19 Business Loans: COVID-19 Business Loans up to €25,000 are available through Microfinance Ireland with zero repayments and zero interest for the first 6 months and the equivalent of an additional 6 months interest-free subject to certain terms and conditions. The loans can range from €5,000 to €25,000. Repayments will commence in month 7 for the remaining period of your loan. The Government will rebate to you the interest paid in the following 6 months (months 7-12 of your loan). The interest rate after the first 6 months will be a reduced interest rate 4.5% APR if submitted through the Local Enterprise Office Network (or other referral partners) or 5.5% APR if you apply directly to Microfinance Ireland.
- COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme: The SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme for eligible businesses supports loans from €25,000 up to €1.5 million (first €500,000 unsecured) with a maximum interest rate of 4%. Applications can be made through the SBCI website at sbci.gov.ie. Eligibility criteria apply.
- Future Growth Loan Scheme: The enhanced Future Growth Loan Scheme makes up to €800m of loans available for terms of 7-10 years. This scheme is available to eligible businesses in Ireland, including those in the primary agriculture (farmers) and seafood sectors, to support strategic long-term investment.
- Sustaining Enterprise Fund: The Sustaining Enterprise Fund is specifically aimed at firms operating in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors, with 10 or more employees, that are vulnerable but viable. The fund is operated by Enterprise Ireland with amounts between €100,000 and €800,000 available to eligible companies who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The fund includes a 50% non-repayable grant element, up to a limit of €200,000.
- Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund: The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund will focus on investment in medium and large scale enterprises in Ireland through a Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund. The fund, worth up to €2 billion, will make capital available to medium and large enterprises on commercial terms.
- General grant supports: The full range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Office and Údarás na Gaeltachta grant supports continue to be available to eligible firms to help with strategies to access finance, commence or ramp-up online trading activity, reconfigure business models, cut costs, innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness.
- COVID Restrictions Support Scheme: The COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) offers support to businesses forced to close or trade at significantly reduced levels as a result of restrictions imposed on them in response to COVID-19. Eligible businesses can make a claim to Revenue for a payment known as an Advance Credit for Trading Expenses (ACTE).
- Enterprise Support Grant: The Enterprise Support Grant for businesses impacted by COVID-19 is available for eligible self-employed people who close their COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. This will provide business owners with a grant of up to €1,000 to restart their business which was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Trading Online Voucher: The Local Enterprise Office Trading Online Voucher is a government grant scheme, designed to assist small businesses with up to 10 employees. It offers financial assistance of up to €2,500 along with training and advice to help your business trade online. Businesses that have already received a Trading Online Voucher can apply for a second voucher, where upgrades are required.
- LEAN for Micro: LEAN for Micro is available to Local Enterprise Office clients to help build resilience within small companies. Businesses can avail of consultancy support with a LEAN Expert or help to implement new remote working and physical distancing guidelines. Contact your Local Enterprise Office for further details.
- COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant: The COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant, worth up to €5,000, is designed to help companies to develop a robust financial plan, including the preparation of documentation required to support applications for external finance from banks and/or other finance providers. The grant is a support for Enterprise Ireland clients and those manufacturing or internationally traded services companies that employ 10 or more full time employees.
- Cross-border companies: InterTradeIreland’s Emergency Business Solutions offers professional advice, to the value of €2,250, to address key business challenges related to COVID-19. The E-Merge programme provides €2,800 consultancy support to help cross-border businesses develop online sales and eCommerce solutions.
- COVID-19 Products Scheme: The COVID-19 Products Scheme facilitates the research and development of COVID products, to enable the construction or upgrading of testing and upscaling infrastructures that contribute to the development COVID-19 relevant products, as well as to support the production of products needed to respond to the outbreak. The scheme is delivered through IDA Ireland's COVID-19 supports and Enterprise Ireland's COVID-19 Business Response.
- Code of Conduct for commercial rents: A voluntary Code of Conduct between landlords and tenants for commercial rents has been developed to facilitate discussions between landlords and tenants impacted by COVID-19.
Rates waiver and tax measures
- Commercial rates waiver: The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage provides details on the commercial rates waiver.
- 'Warehousing' of deferred tax debts: The scheme, administered by Revenue, will ‘warehouse’ VAT and PAYE (Employer) debts associated with the COVID-19 crisis.
- VAT rate reduction from 13.5% to 9%: A VAT rate reduction from 13.5% to 9% applies from 1 November 2020 in recognition of the unprecedented challenges facing the hospitality and tourism sector.
- Advice for taxpayers and agents: Revenue's COVID-19 information and advice for taxpayers and agents provides information on Revenue services and tax and customs measures in place during the COVID-19 pandemic including information on tax returns and interest suspension arrangements.
Sector-specific supports and guidance
- Food, drink and horticulture sector: Bord Bia's COVID-19 hub offers a suite of supports and toolkits for food, drink and horticulture businesses affected by COVID-19.
- Seafood sector: Bord Iascaigh Mhara is providing COVID-19 business support to the seafood sector.
- Farm businesses: Teagasc is available to provide support on issues facing farm businesses in light of COVID-19.
- Tourism and hospitality sector: The Fáilte Ireland COVID-19 Business Support Hub is targeting its supports to respond to the challenges tourism businesses face. The supports include sectoral operational guidelines, the Tourism Business Continuity Scheme and the Outdoor Seating and Accessories for Tourism and Hospitality Business Scheme.
- Tourism, arts, culture and sports sectoral guidance: The COVID-19 sectoral guidance from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media provides targeted information for the sectors it supports.
- Live entertainment sector: The Music and Entertainment Business Support Scheme (MEBAS) has funding of €14 million and has been launched as a further support measure for those in the live entertainment sector to make a contribution to the overheads of businesses that have been significantly negatively affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
- Events sector: The new €11.5 million Events Sector Covid Support Scheme (ESCSS) is targeted at SMEs in the events sector which have been affected significantly by the COVID-19 public health restrictions. A grant of up to €50,000 is available to successful applicants as a contribution to their fixed costs.
- Design sector: The Design & Craft Council Ireland delivers a range of support and development programmes, including webinars and FAQs in response to the impacts of COVID-19 on the design sector.
- Restaurants to operate as takeaways: Amendments to Planning and Development Regulations temporarily allow restaurants to operate as takeaways without being required to obtain change of use planning permission.
- Standards for medical supplies made freely available: NSAI and SAI Global have developed the COVID-19 Response Package which provides free access to Standards for medical devices and PPE.
- Guidance on the manufacture and distribution of medical devices, PPE and barrier masks:
- Online COVID-19 platform to help firms collaborate: Companies aiming to help healthcare responses to the COVID-19 crisis can collaborate via the online COVID-19 platform.
Skills and training supports
The government offers a range of initiatives for reskilling and upskilling to help businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. Skills and training supports include Enterprise Ireland's eiLearn online learning resource, LEO training webinars, Skillnet Ireland's Skills Connect, the SOLAS Skills to Advance initiative and Springboard+ courses.
For details on the range of supports visit COVID-19: Skills and training supports for businesses.
Work Safely Protocol
The Work Safely Protocol is designed to support employers and workers to put measures in place that will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The Protocol is a general document applicable to all sectors. It sets out the minimum measures required in every place of work to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to facilitate the re-opening of workplaces following temporary closures and the ongoing safe operation of those workplace.
The HSA Work Safely online courses includes a course to help understand the Protocol requirements and a course for those appointed Lead Worker Representative.
Templates and checklists
The HSA COVID-19 templates and checklists – based on the Protocol – have been prepared to inform employers, business owners, managers and workers about what they need to do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
The Data Protection – Work Safely Protocol guidance document has been prepared to assist in providing clarification where the measures set out in the Work Safely Protocol may result in the processing of personal data.
Business Continuity Planning COVID-19 Checklist: The Department's checklist on Business Continuity Planning provides a useful checklist for businesses in responding to COVID-19.
Posters and graphics
Posters, leaflets and other resources for use in workplaces and communities:
Contact our Enterprise Information Centre
Contact the Enterprise Information Centre for information on the government supports available to businesses and enterprises.
Tel: +353 1 631 2002
Occupational Health and Safety Helpline
For information on workplace health and safety please contact the Occupational Health and Safety Helpline.
Tel: 1890 289 389 or (01) 614 7000
COVID-19 related prevention and recovery measures in the workplace
For support in relation to improving your COVID-19 related prevention and recovery measures in the workplace, contact the NSAI COVID-19 helpline.
Tel: +353 1 807 3800
For more information, advice and guidelines from across government visit gov.ie/covid19.